Monday, 8 July 2013

More than memories

I've been sorting out baby clothes to be stored in the loft just in case we are crazy enough to try for a third. The everyday vests and babygros and buy on a whim Primark outfits (made by children for children?) I'm happy to pass on to anyone but the posher John Lewis dresses bought via eBay I'm saving to bestow upon favoured friends after my family is definitely complete. 

I have however come across a couple of things that have tugged the heart strings and been put in the 'don't give away, ever' pile. 

One of those is a bunny rabbit vest a friend bought my daughter as a present when she went into hospital for an operation as a baby. It says I heart Mummy on it. I say she bought it for my daughter, we both knew it was for me. And though I am usually resistant to slogans, any slogans, this one was just the right message at just the right time. I am not sure I could ever put another child of mine in it, it's so bound up with that time for me, but I don't want to give it away either.

At the other end of the spectrum is a yellow cardigan I bought for my son, though it has the opposite emotional tug and as soon as I found it I just needed it out of the house. I bought it full price, something I rarely do, in Mothercare, in a fit of concern that he'd only ever have hand me downs and never know the thrill of new clothes. As if his three month old self cared. I was also thrilled to find something for boys so bright and cheerful without a lion, dinosaur or car on it. 

The first time he wore it he had a choking incident. It was over quickly, before I could ask my friend to call an ambulance I had held him upside down and was thwacking his back until he threw up monumentally and the colour drained back into his face, but all I can see now when I picture that cardigan is the bright yellow against a purple face struggling to breathe. 

I don't even want to see that cardigan again on a friend's child, let alone my own, lovely as it is, so it's gone to a charity shop far enough away that I shouldn't bump into it again. 

When my daughter was born my mum gave me a dress that had been my own as a baby. She had kept it in her box of special things. I took it out of the drawer one day to put it on my daughter and all the elastic had rotted in the intervening thirty-two years. 

There are people online who make 'memory quilts' out of baby clothes for sentimental saddos who can't let go. You send them your fifty favourite items and a three figure bank transfer and they send you a bedspread covered in teddies, ducks, Breton stripe and knock off Scandinavian prints. I'm so going to get one made in due course, I just know it, with fabric from the one my mum passed down to me at the centre. I know it's vomit inducing and a little pathetic and will take fifty good outfits out of the hand me down circuit (perhaps it's even funded by clothes shops keen you buy as much new as possible), but I know too that I'll love it. 

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